Early 1960s - Some members of the New Haven County Fire Chiefs' Emergency Plan at Station 8. CLICK to enlarge. (Photo courtesy of Gil Spencer)
2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the New Haven County Fire Emergency Plan. The group was established in 1937 by a group of New Haven area fire chiefs. Originally called the New Haven County Fire Chiefs' Emergency Plan, the organization's goal has been the coordination of regional fire service resources in the event of a major disaster and to facilitate effective communication between and among area fire departments.
The Emergency Plan meets each month at a different New Haven county fire station. For decades, the traditional June venue for the Emergency Plan has been Hamden's Dunbar Hill fire station where, following the meeting, attendees have been treated to fresh strawberries from Hindinger's Farm. Recent presidents of the Emergency Plan have included retired HFD Deputy Fire Chief Clark Hurlburt and HFD Chaplain, Rev. Owen Sanderson.
This early 1960s photo, taken in the apparatus room at Station 8, features some of the brass from area departments, including Hamden's V. Paul Leddy (left) and Cheshire's fire marshal James Doherty (center). The other three gentlement are not identified. Any ideas?
August 31, 1962 - New Haven Fire Department Capt. Walter Suski congratulates Hamden's John O'Hare, captain of the HFD softball team, following Hamden's 11-10 victory at Blake Field. Paul Wetmore's hit drove in the winning run. John led the team into the late 1970s.
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The Alarm Room News
Shortly after this website started in June 2009, HFRA member Ed Emerson emailed us scanned images of the April 1983 issue of The Alarm Room News, which featured Hamden as the monthly "City of Discussion." While preparing to include the scans in this week's website update, we got to thinking about ARN publisher Keith Victor, who was also influential in helping the Hamden Fire Department establish its radio fire dispatch system in the late 1980s. We recently caught up with Keith to find out what he's been up to lately.
Over forty years ago, when he was a young Hartford firefighter, Keith began publishing The Alarm Room News from his East Hartford home. Championing the principle that "Knowledge is of no value until shared with others," The Alarm Room News was a monthly statewide publication aimed at keeping firefighters in Connecticut and western Massachusetts communities informed on the latest local fire service news.
Each issue of The Alarm Room News was filled with well-researched information on major fires in Connecticut and western Massachusetts during the previous month, as well as photos and specs of new apparatus deliveries. Every month, the "City of Discussion" offered readers a comprehensive profile of a different local fire department, listing its leadership, organizational make-up, station locations, descriptions of apparatus and the types of communications and alarm systems.
Hamden's Ed Doiron was one of Keith's southern Connecticut contacts for obtaining fire news each month, conducting 24/7 radio airchecks of New Haven area fire departments. Keith continued to publish The Alarm Room News until 1992.
Now 66, Keith Victor has spent two-thirds of his life in public safety. He joined the Hartford Fire Department in 1968. During his 26-year career as a Hartford firefighter, Keith was assigned to Engine 2 at Main and Belden, Engine 15 at Fairfield and New Britain Aves., and Engine 14 at Blue Hills and Albany Aves, where he was driver. Keith returned to Hartford's Station 2 as driver before retiring in 1994.
After 26 years with the Hartford Fire Department, Keith continues to enjoy his work in public safety. He is currently Communications Director for the Town of West Hartford, chairs the Region 3 Emergency Support Functions for Communications (ESF2) for FEMA, and sits on the State Technical Advisory Committee for Homeland Security. Keith is also with the Lafayette Group, teaching Communications for the federal government. Keith and his wife still live in their home in East Hartford.
Here's Another Mystery
Another mystery: This 50+ year old photo shows numerous members of the West Woods Volunteer Fire Co. 9 at a house fire somewhere in, of all places, West Woods. Any ideas ('cause we really don't know)? (Photo by I.A. Sneiderman)
Despite the IDs above the bay doors in this 1957 photo of Station 2, the 1952 Maxim (left) and the 1938 Seagrave canopy cab (right) were Engine 2 and Engine 1 respectively.
The marking on the door of the Seagrave is another curiosity: When it was placed in service as Engine 4 in 1938, the number "4" was painted on both doors. The Seagrave was transferred to Station 2 a year later, where it remained until it was "disposed of" in 1968 - the number "4" still adorning both doors. Go figure. (Photo by Chan Brainard)